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Unread 06-04-2009, 02:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

So I recently came into possession of a Chinese Fake Les Paul (hereafter known as "fake"). I decided it would be cool to get my hands on one of these so I could pick it apart a little, get some hands on time with the enemy so to speak. And no, I didn't buy it or pay one, red cent for it.

The main idea of this post is hi-res pictures of the fake so those of you with question can more easily determine if your LP or one you're looking to buy is fake.

Now on to the pics.


^Here you can see the misaligned tuners.


^Headstock pitch


^Here you can see the seams of the pieces the body. I can see three seams total with a veneer on the back.


^Here's a good shot of the scarf joint showing the multi-piece neck. To my knowledge, no Les Paul ever had a scarf joint. The ones that did have multi-piece necks had a volute (which is up nearer the headstock). This particular guitar also has a small piece at the heel for a total of 4 pieces. (And yes, I know my room is messy, I'm packing to move! )



^ As you can see here, the fret-edge binding or "nibs" found on Real Gibsons is not there. This almost immediately marks a fake, as the only time nibs should be missing from a real Gibson is due to a refret.


^Here you can see the obviously skewed knobs.




^In this shot you can see obviously over-sized washers, and the headstock is shaped incorrectly. (Take a look at a real one and you'll see what they got wrong) Also you can see that the Gibson logo is slightly askew.


^This part is my favorite. It says, "Gibson Original Eqiupment, 'Bench Tesred / Buikkt Approvud'" And you can't see it in the pics, but the skewed knobs lead to a strange shaped control cavity, again, look at a real one and you'll see what I mean.

EDIT to add pictures of differences between the fake and the real deal.

This next one is one of the easiest to spot. Unlike Epiphones which vary between MIK and MIC, 99% of Gibson Les Pauls that sport the 2vol/2tone configuration have parallel knobs, if you were to draw a line through them you'd get two parallel lines. The fakes will have knobs that are skewed. If you were to draw a line through them they would intersect at some point in space.



The second one is of the headstock, and highlights the difference between the Gibson logos and the tops of the open-book. The fake headstock is also wider at the top than the traditional Gibson headstock. And as Dennis pointed out earlier, the dimple in the top of the Gibson is deeper and more radical than the relaxed dimple in the middle of the fake's. Also, if you look, at the Gibson logo the "G" and the "n" almost perfectly parallel where the fake's both slant over toward the treble side. Not all fakes are this way, but nine time out of ten the logo slants inward or outward is almost never perfectly parallel.




This last one shows a more drastic difference in the headstock "ears."



Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinmastah View Post
Also a few more things to point out. There are no thumbwheels on the bridge. The TRC goes out over past half of the first washer. And also I believe in a lot of fake Gibbies I have seen, the lettering is a lot thicker. Also the guitar just looks fugly too. I wouldn't pick that thing up if I saw it at a store to try out.
diceman, nauc, filker7 and 1 others like this.
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Last edited by djwilbanks; 06-04-2009 at 10:21 PM.
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Unread 06-04-2009, 02:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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re: How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

Well if you're uploading the fullsized photos, it's going to be slow... if you're on cable/dsl your upload rate is like 1/4 what your download rate is...
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Unread 06-04-2009, 02:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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re: How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason View Post
Well if you're uploading the fullsized photos, it's going to be slow... if you're on cable/dsl your upload rate is like 1/4 what your download rate is...
I know this, and I'm not. I've re-sized them in photoshop, but my internet is slow, so my uploading is even more so.

Just two more to upload.
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Unread 06-04-2009, 02:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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re: How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

So how does it sound/play?
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Unread 06-04-2009, 02:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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re: How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

post a pic of those removable nibs that fakes come with.
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Unread 06-04-2009, 02:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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re: How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

is that Sables wine red custom?
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Unread 06-04-2009, 02:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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re: How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

Did you get a $400 check, too?

Good thread, by the way.
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Unread 06-04-2009, 03:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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re: How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason View Post
So how does it sound/play?
Haha, honestly? Its not too bad. Very Epiphone-ish. The pickups have some static and are slightly microphonic and the pots do very little.

And You can clearly see the lack of nibs in a few of the pics. Sorry, OJ, mine didn't come with the removable types. Must be an extra option.

The whole idea of this thread is because some people keep asking about if this Les Paul is fake or if that Les Paul is fake. If it looks like this one, its fake. Simple.
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Unread 06-04-2009, 03:03 PM   #9 (permalink)
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re: How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JM Vasek View Post
Did you get a $400 check, too?

Good thread, by the way.

I always said someone would have to pay me to take one of these things.
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Unread 06-04-2009, 03:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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re: How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

I think I can figure out who this guitar came from, can I take a guess?
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Unread 06-04-2009, 03:11 PM   #11 (permalink)
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re: How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

Great thread.
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Unread 06-04-2009, 03:12 PM   #12 (permalink)
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re: How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

Excellent, thanks very much for this and for pointing out the clues.
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Unread 06-04-2009, 03:14 PM   #13 (permalink)
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re: How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ojedad23 View Post
I think I can figure out who this guitar came from, can I take a guess?
Shhh, he'll reveal himself if he chooses. Plently of people already know, but I think they're all agreed on keeping quiet.
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Unread 06-04-2009, 03:15 PM   #14 (permalink)
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re: How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

how is the lower screw for the truss rod cover attached?
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Unread 06-04-2009, 03:15 PM   #15 (permalink)
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re: How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

allright
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Unread 06-04-2009, 03:18 PM   #16 (permalink)
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re: How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

Good info, thanks!
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Unread 06-04-2009, 03:19 PM   #17 (permalink)
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re: How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

Quote:
Originally Posted by qwank View Post
how is the lower screw for the truss rod cover attached?
Not sure, I haven't quite gotten to the taking it apart part yet.

EDIT: Just checked, it actually has a place for the lower screw just like a real Gibson. This is one of the later fakes after they wised up to the two screw truss rod cover. If there's a truss rod in it, the nut is WAAAY down in the cavity.
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Unread 06-04-2009, 03:22 PM   #18 (permalink)
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re: How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

I say you completely turn it around, route it for p90s,upgrade electronics, remove finish, probably not worth it but you'll get some experience.
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Unread 06-04-2009, 03:25 PM   #19 (permalink)
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re: How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ojedad23 View Post
I say you completely turn it around, route it for p90s,upgrade electronics, remove finish, probably not worth it but you'll get some experience.
Not my guitar to do so. And I have some experience stripping poly that I do not ever want to do it again.

I borrowed this from a friend who lent it to me so I could make this thread for you guys.
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Unread 06-04-2009, 03:52 PM   #20 (permalink)
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re: How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

Most excellent thread!

This means what I think it means then

Got a shot inside of the control cavity?
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Unread 06-04-2009, 03:55 PM   #21 (permalink)
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re: How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

Good pics, we haven't seen enough of these on this forum. Pretty sure I recall another MLP member acquiring and detailing a fake last year - if this is the same one this thread certainly has more details on display. Thanks.

PS - if it's the one I think it is, the control cavity is "a mess".
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Unread 06-04-2009, 04:11 PM   #22 (permalink)
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re: How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

is it marked as fake on the back?
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Unread 06-04-2009, 04:32 PM   #23 (permalink)
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re: How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

No. Not marketed as fake. And yes, Last. Its what you think it is.

I will take some pics with the control cavity covers off later.
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Unread 06-04-2009, 05:07 PM   #24 (permalink)
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re: How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

PLEASE, use MACRO mode on your camera, then pictures will be in focus.
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Unread 06-04-2009, 05:18 PM   #25 (permalink)
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re: How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

I will keep posting these pictures in every thread regarding this matter until as many as possible have seen them. This is most likely what it will look like underneath the back and top veneers:








Another discovery I made is that the logo is made out of some kind of pearloid-looking paper, and can be sanded off once you get through the top coats of poly. On mine the top did not have a single ply of veneer, it was more like 3, and under those again were extra veneer patches glued on over the "anomalies". When I was done taking off both top and back veneers, the guitar became around 0,5 cm thinner. The actual wood in the control cavity is so thin you can punch a hole in it with your hand without too much effort!
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Unread 06-04-2009, 05:27 PM   #26 (permalink)
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re: How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

This should be sticky'd.
Nice thread Deej. Good job.


Mate.
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Unread 06-04-2009, 05:35 PM   #27 (permalink)
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re: How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

can U please do a comparison shot of fake knob position to real knob position.
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Unread 06-04-2009, 06:02 PM   #28 (permalink)
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re: How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

Quote:
Originally Posted by djwilbanks View Post
Also notice how 'rounded' the 'dip' in the middle of the top of the headstock is. Gibsons' 'dips' are very sharp.

I hope this hunkajunk gets marked clearly as to its 'fakeness' eventually, or is destroyed.

Thanks, Deeje....
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Unread 06-04-2009, 06:13 PM   #29 (permalink)
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re: How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

Kølabrennern... good lord that's freaking nasty. They might as well have used cardboard.
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Unread 06-04-2009, 07:02 PM   #30 (permalink)
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re: How to tell if a Gibson Les Paul is fake...

Quote:
Originally Posted by George "M" View Post
PLEASE, use MACRO mode on your camera, then pictures will be in focus.
I did. At 12MP. And resized in photoshop keeping them at highest quality. They're out of focus because I had to take them indoors with artifical light. As far as I can tell, only a couple of them are out of focus and they aren't ones that too terribly important to spotting a fake. I'll try to get some pictures out inthe sunlight soon if it ever stops raining.
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